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Dominic Cooper as Uday Hussein

“The Devil’s Double”:

If Brit actor Dominic Cooper doesn’t get an Oscar nom for his work here we should start an Occupy Hollywood movement.

In Lee Tamahori’s film Cooper (he was the bridegroom in “Mamma Mia!”) plays both Uday Hussein — Saddam Hussein’s psychotic and murderous older son — and real-life Iraqi officer Latif Yahia, who looked enough like the young despot to become his double, filling in for Uday at boring affairs of state and, on at least one occasion, drawing an assassin’s bullet.

It’s a delicious star turn, with Cooper reveling both as the piggish, ultra-violent Uday, and as Latif, a decent guy forced to live side-by-side with a man he despises.

Tamahori doesn’t bring a whole lot of style to the proceedings, but then he doesn’t have to. This is Dominic Cooper’s movie and he owns it from first frame to last.

“13 Assassins”:

Takashi Miike’s samurai tale may not score many points for originality (it’s yet another clone of Kurosawa’s timeless “Seven Samurai”), but it’s hugely enjoyable.

A dozen jobless ronin and a comical forest-dwelling goofball join forces (more…)

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Dominic Cooper as Uday Hussein...

“THE DEVIL’S DOUBLE” My rating: B (Opening wide on Sept. 26)

109 minutes | MPAA rating: R

The right role can turn a journeyman actor into an overnight star.

Take, for instance, Dominic Cooper’s performance in “The Devil’s Double.”

Up to now the British Cooper has been recognized mostly for playing the groom in the movie version of “Mamma Mia!” But here he tackles not one role but two, and in the process pretty much burns up the screen.

Based on real incidents, “Devil…” is the story of Latif Yahia, an officer in the Iraqi army who in the 1980s was tapped to serve as the official double of Uday Hussein, Saddam Hussein’s notoriously spoiled and violent oldest son.

(more…)

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